What Is DTF Powder?

direct to film printer_what is dtf powder


Direct-to-film printing is a go-to choice for many beginner and seasoned shirt printers. Its unquestionable versatility and easy process are two of its major selling points.

To print DTF, you will need DTF powder. This consumable product guarantees the adhesion of the ink to the fabric you are printing on. DTF powder is a crucial component, and there are varieties of it for different applications.

Here’s a guide to familiarize you with the DTF powder. And teach you how to use DTF powder for your printing needs.

What is DTF Powder?

One requirement for a durable design transfer is the ink’s adherence to the fabric. A substance must act as a paste for the design to stick to the substrate. This is where a DTF powder comes in.

Also known as hot-melt adhesive, this powder belongs to the consumable supplies needed to complete a DTF transfer. This adhesive powder is applied to a newly printed transfer film to help stick the design onto the shirt. Which then needs curing via a specialized oven or a heat press to melt.

Besides durability, DTF powders can also guarantee better washability and stretchability.

Some DTF powder types offer excellent elasticity and texture to the transferred design. Other types compromise elastic properties to guarantee better wear resistance and rigidity. Still, all DTF powder types are necessary to ensure your design will stick to the shirt surface.

What is DTF Powder Made of?

The composition of a DTF powder will vary depending on its type or brand. However, it generally comprises resins, polymers, and additive blends. These blends ensure easy application when ground into a powder.

The widely used white DTF powder contains pure polyurethane. In comparison, black DTF powder has activated carbon and rubber powder bases. DTF powders do not guarantee uniform granularity. You can buy them as ultrafine, fine, or coarse, depending on the application.

What Does DTF Powder Do?

A DTF powder is not only essential but a necessity in doing direct-to-film printing. Simply put, you can only complete a DTF transfer with this product. The absence of this adhesive powder means the lack of a binding agent. It functions as a glue that binds the DTF ink to the fabric.

What are the Types of DTF Powders?

Similar to their granularity, DTF powders come in different types. Each type offers special qualities ideal for a specific printing application. Let’s look at the most common DTF powder types below.


TPU stands for Thermoplastic Polyurethane. As mentioned before, polyurethane is comprised of most white DTF powders. Hence, TPU is also the market’s most widely used adhesive powder type.

The reason for its popularity is its guaranteed elastic and durable design finish. An elastic finish is necessary to prevent the transferred design from cracking. TPU adhesives allow the prints to move with the fabric. This flexibility prevents the prints from splitting, making the final product long-lasting.


Polyethylene Sulfide (PES) DTF powder is a more rigid, less elastic type than TPU. The rigidity of this powder makes for a more lasting print and improved wear resistance. If you are a fan of polyester garments, this would be your DTF powder of choice. PES powder is often applied when printing on polyester fabrics. Such hot-melt adhesives are also based on polyester resin.

PA (polyamide):

Polyamides breed a balance between elasticity and strength. PA transfer powders borrow TPU’s elastic properties and PES’s rigidity. They are made from synthetic polymers and are often referred to as nylon. With excellent stretchability and durability, PA commands versatile application.

Although less popular than TPU, PA powders are ideal for applying to prints requiring better resistance to wear.

What are the Advantages of Using DTF Powder Over Other Transfer Methods?

Let’s look at why you should pick DTF printing over other methods.

  • Durability

DTF printing’s popularity is influenced in part by its guaranteed durable finish. The transfers made through this method offer wear resistance and lasting quality. Using the best DTF powder, you can ensure that your custom prints stay on the fabric longer.

  • Versatility

There’s nothing more rewarding than a printing method with the most application. DTF printing is versatile enough to accommodate even complex designs. You can also choose between almost any type of fabric to work on. Different DTF powders also help ensure that your prints stick to whatever substrate you are working on.

  • Convenient application

DTF printing is also one of the most straightforward processes in the industry. Its simplified application makes for faster production time than most printing methods. There’s no complex step, and even applying your adhesive powder is trouble-free.

  • Excellent print quality

DTF print quality is top-tier. By adding the best DTF powders, you can ensure that your prints stay intact. You have the control to achieve crack-free prints and a design that does not easily peel away. Your designs are also guaranteed to be sharp and vibrant.

  • Cost-effectiveness

DTF printing remains one of the cost-effective methods, especially for small-medium printing ventures. The consumable materials, like DTF powder, are also very affordable. Many prefer DTF printing since it has a higher profit margin than most methods.

How to Use DTF Powder?

Powdering the adhesive is straightforward. It does not require complex steps and can be done in minutes. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Applying the adhesive powder should come after printing your design onto the transfer film. You want to powder the film while the ink is wet to achieve optimal binding.
  2. To cover the design, spread the adhesive powder evenly and in a thin coat. Some advanced DTF printers integrate an automatic powder shaker. But if you don’t have this machine, you can do it manually without a hitch.
  3. Make sure to shake the excess powder from the film. Don’t use too thick powder, as it can affect the quality of the print.
  4. Cure the DTF powder via a heat press, an oven, or a heat gun. Configure your heat press machine in a no-contact mode if you don’t have a curing oven.
  5. Transfer your design onto the shirt. Configure your temperature and time depending on the type of fabric. Then, heat-press your film onto the preheated shirt. Make sure to peel off your film before pressing the transferred design again; this time, cover it with parchment paper before pressing.


Q1: Can You Use DTF Powder on Sublimation Paper?

You can, but you don’t have to. DTF powders can be used in sublimation printing through a special process called sublimation DTF hack. But still, sublimation papers don’t have an adhesive side where the powder can stick. You must use a special DTF adhesive powder with a hot-melt adhesive coating. This has the property to bond with the sublimation ink, although not with the sublimation paper. Nonetheless, this process remains tedious and not ideal.

Q2: Is DTF Powder Toxic?

DTF powders are generally safe if used according to the product label. While some chemical traces in the product can harm some body parts, handling it properly eliminates the risks. So always make sure you are aware of how to store and handle DTF powder before handling it.

Q3: What is the Difference Between Black and White DTF Powder?

The difference between the two lies in their composition and application. White DTF powders are often based on pure polyurethane. In contrast, black adhesive powder comprises rubber powder and traces of activated carbon. Also, the white powder applies to various fabric colors, while the black adhesive is limited to dark-colored garments.

Q4: How Long Does It Take DTF Powder to Cure?

DTF powder curing time can vary depending on type and brand. However, general claims put the curing time at 2 to 3 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q5: What is the Average Cost of the DTF Powder?

The rough DTF powder price estimate depends on the quantities you buy. If you’re looking to buy a small quantity of 500g, you can expect to pay anywhere between $10 and $20. A medium order costs $20-$20, while large quantities can retail from $50 to $100. Black powder or specialty colors can cost $30-$50.

Q6: What is the Shelf Life of the DTF Powder?

When stored correctly, you can expect your DTF powder to be optimal for around 12 months.

Q7: What are the Signs of the Expired DTF Powder?

There are three major signs your DTF powder might be expired. It’s when the powder shows signs of clumping or hardening. Or when it exhibits discoloration and reduced adhesion.

Leave a Reply